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  • Designing Good Brand Experience, Winning Consumer Mind

    Designing brand experience is an artistic approach to the brand purpose that can be an important aspect of winning consumer’s heart and mind and mapping consumer journey. In today’s brandy-brand world, like everything else in brand management designing purposeful brand experience is the most sought-after brand strategy. The process is intense and required well-designed game-plane because it is about how do companies go about designing experiences, as a way to differentiate their brands, it might be useful to think about how companies think of differentiation in the more traditional sense. 

    One-way companies have visualized is differentiation through performance curves, which is also known as value curves. But what companies are doing that they are going from the various attributes that their products and services have to the consumer benefits. And then they ask themselves for this consumer benefits. For example, how white is any company washing powder wash, or how reliable is any company’s service? And of course, the most important one may be or one of the most important ones is it is affordable. Companies must know what cost is offering it? Is your brand affordable to the customers? And the companies can kind of visualize that the value companies provide based on that. And companies can think about well how do they line up. Companies must consider the comparison to the competition and look for those points of difference. Now, these tend to be kind of measurable components of the companies offering, quality dimensions, and tend to be quite functional as a result. Now if that’s the spine that’s driving company’s differentiation that passed, things have shifted quite a bit. The spine for an experienced delivery is the customer journey. 

    What are the different journeys one company’s different customers go through as they interact with their offering over time, and across different parts of the organization? Whereas service in the old model tends to be quite reactive, problem-oriented. This is real events and experiences companies should have that kind of celebrate the brand, and maybe shine a bright light onto where the companies have a point of difference, in terms of the brand purpose or the brand positioning. And importantly, it’s also about making that journey as smoothly as possible. Just from an experience standpoint, and just to what any brand appetite is to think of the most mundane products or services and how companies can enhance them with an experience. And of course, for some brands, the experience is core to their brand promise. For Disney, the magical experience you have in their theme parks. For Nespresso, the experience you have in making coffee. 

    Of course, companies want to offer an experience which can benefit them in building their brand image. In very unsurprising ways, things companies don’t think or even observe as companies, they destroy the customer experience. Moments which we think are insignificant, like two staff members talking to each other In the store might be seen not as insignificant, but as indifferent or signally indifference towards the customer. So really nothing is neutral when it comes to the experience and it’s sometimes taking those very mundane aspects of the experience and branding them. 

    For example, Singapore, where the brand is about customer service. The flight attendant, which they’re called in the old days at least, Singapore girls, if you went to the bathroom, you would return and you would see your seatbelt folded in a certain way on the aeroplane. Which signalled the attention to detail, the service orientation, of the company. And many companies have also transformed themselves from being product providers to experience providers. 

    Another example from Hong Kong is Hong Kong Gas or Town Gas. They isolate. Now, these are monopoly providers. Their competitor is electricity providers in Hong-Kong and them kind of really went down that route of efficiency. So, how do I provide you with this commodity, the gas at a lower price?

    And the first app they produced was also to, you could read your gas meter by yourself. We didn’t have to invest in the cost of the person coming to your home and reading your meter. But then something happened inside the company, they asked themselves the question, well who are our best customers? Why are they using gas? And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our best customers are those who love cooking. They cook with a very high hit in those works, they use a lot of gas so they said, well, what is the purpose of us providing gas? And that purpose became very much around cooking. And rather than using the mobile app to reduce cost. They said, well how can we enhance that brand purpose? So how can we share with our consumers’ recipes, for example? How can we give them tips for cleaning their pots? And rather than preventing our people from visiting our customers. Let’s think about all the touchpoints we have and turn them into kind of the voice of the customer. They learn about the customer so we can enhance our services and customer experience. They visited their customers much more than the companies that made the woks or even designed the kitchens and they became such experts, that they have their range of kitchenware. They even have a restaurant called Flame, where they have cooking demonstration classes for their customers. And this permeates the entire organization, the senior management including the CEO will spend time visiting customers in their home to be reminded of the purpose, which is really about the customer experience around cooking. And surprisingly they’ve won major awards and they’ve continued to win major awards for their services going forward. They’ve also built such a strong customer relationship that they now have their credit card service and gas you might imagine is really about safety. They even offer insurance to their customers. They’ve gone from providing a commodity product which is gas. To a customer relationship around cooking and safety in the broader sense. They now own the customer relationship and it’s transformed their business.

    Companies can already see in that story from Hong Kong gas, their seven or at least seven stages in terms of designing and delivering on a customer experience that is on-brand. The first one starts by understanding what the brand purpose is from an experiential component. It’s about doing. Why am I doing this? Why am I buying this product? And that’s really, one can call it designing the purpose and if you think about it, well for Hong Kong Towngas, this was about cooking. For Nike, it might be about running. And to understand what that purpose is, from a doing standpoint, that already puts companies into the realm of experiences. And then companies think about that purpose. 

    The second step is to understand the customer journey, and you want to map that out. What are all the different “things” that customers are doing? Well, they’re learning about your product. They’re navigating the information. They are buying. They’re trying. They’re using. They’re disposing of. These are all different events, if you will, in that journey. And you want to map those out, not just from a basic service standpoint, but from a brand standpoint. Is it undermining companies brand promise, or is it demonstrating, delivering on the brand promise? Not like slapping your logo on something, but maybe like in the Apple store, the idea of creating, being creative, being evident at each of those steps and adding up consistently.

    Now to deliver on that, of course, companies have to map the various touchpoints of the organization against those different moments that matter in the customer journey, that’s the third aspect. Think about your organization, how it has all those various silos. And the customer is cutting across them over time. Across these different touchpoints. 

    The fourth step then is to think about, well how do I go from maybe a generic or poorer experience to creating one that is meaningful, rich, and on-brand. How do I express the brand experientially? That’s the fourth step. 

  • Building Brand Experience is the Winning Strategy!

    Worldwide companies can sometimes go wrong in understanding how brand value is created for the consumer. In other words, companies lack to understand value creation in branding at all. Instead of creating efficiency, effectiveness and experience, the most of companies have their good-for-nothing approaches without any insight that it is important to understand that experience is gaining in importance when it comes to creating value for customers and notion that brand image in the minds of consumers, not on shelves and other spectacle strategies. The very problem is with these companies that these companies have failed to illustrate the difference between what the consumers think that it might be quality and what quality is when it comes to products.

    Let’s put this theory into motion and before the reader of this blog goes further it is important to understand that every product is an experience in its way. For example, think of products like a Nespresso, which has taken the art of coffee making into a whole new dimension. Nespresso is a coffee making machine. Which has been ritualized compared to the solutions that were there earlier?

    Or you might think of any DIY brands where what they’ve done is that they’ve outsourced the whole production process. You’ve got unmake things to create a whole set of experiences, a whole ritual around making those things of your choice. Now imagine someone came to you, and said, you are doing all wrong, this is kind of cheating that you make people make their things and instead of giving them concession and comfort and for that, you are charging them, you would have probably laughed at vender. But it’s a very successful concept. Therefore, when it comes to products, there are experiences and everything that surrounds them, like, shopping for the products, using them, disposing of them, getting service, all of those are separate experiences which add up to an overall experience. Experience is an occurrence, an event, an episode. Something that happens to someone and that engages all of the person’s senses. Our senses are not just, sight, smell, touch, hearing. It’s also a perception of time. It is maybe how people relate to others, certain thought processes that might have. It’s how all of these add up together and these episodes, they leave impressions on people, sort of indelible impressions on the mind and that’s what really what the brand image is.

    If one can think about how to build a brand image, well, it’s that combination of many, many different experiences. It’s not how we thought about brand building in the old days with a mass advertisement, where you had a big bang about your product or service. It’s much more about that collection of many, many different experiences. Many of them might seem rather mundane. Experiences when it comes to building the brand image, are also very, very powerful, and they also are a part of the self-definition. If companies build a brand with which customers identify, those tend to be the more powerful brands.

    Let’s explain it with another example, some years ago, there was this movie called The Bucket List, and it was this movie about two patients with terminal cancer. They escaped the cancer ward and they create this bucket list which comes from the notion of you’re going to kick the bucket or die. And on this bucket list were all kinds of experiences. It was visiting the great pyramids, going to Paris, skydiving, all kinds of unusual things that people wanted to do. And that’s the focal point, it’s what we do rather than what we have in terms of possessions. When people look back upon their lives and when people think about what enriched them, it’s more the things they’ve done than the things that they have owned. There’s a lot of research that shows this, and many of you might have a bucket list too, and you might want to take a look at your bucket list. So, if the experience is so important in our lives, then the challenge is, well, how can we surround our brands with these experiences? How can we use experiences as a way to build our brand and maybe to prevent some of the not so good experiences from destroying our brand?

    Now marketers tend to know this and some research shows that experiences are increasingly the way brands are trying to differentiate themselves and that other levers like product quality or price are increasingly less effective at differentiating the brand. Similarly, if one can think about, for example, why does the person want to stay with a company, what drives that person loyalty? It turns out that experiences, by far, are the biggest driver of loyalty and this is across different segments, in business-to-business or business-to-consumer. They’re less the reason you might join a new company. They’re still important. But of course, customers would not have experienced the brand before you’ve tried it. Thus, switching is not driven as much by the experience, but certainly leaving a brand. Customers switch brands because of bad experiences and if companies think about, they might want to ask their customers what were the things that delighted them about companies’ brand? What are the things that are memorable and positively stick with them?

    What are the things that upset customers that made them switch brands, or consider switching? Companies should think about what kind of aspects those are and also think about who stands behind those aspects. They are very often people who stand behind those experiences. Not just products, but people. This gets into the realm of customer satisfaction and the way companies tend to think about satisfaction because satisfaction is actually when companies offering met their target expectations. Now customer delight or surprise is when companies exceeded those expectations and disappointment comes when they have failed to meet them. If companies think about that simple equation, that satisfaction is the difference between what customer expects and what customer experience, whatever that might be then thinking about the role traditional marketing plays in its communication to what degree does advertising build the experience versus the expectations? An obvious answer, it raises expectations. Companies should switch marketing, or brand-building, from focusing on building expectations, to building the experience because that’s a step change for the marketing function and the organization as a whole.

  • Brand Purpose is the Ideal Power Profit Growth

    I am saying it a loud, please do listen carefully, in branding being different is not the same as differentiation.

    By differentiation and by brand differentiation, we’re really talking about a difference that matters. That matters to consumers. A difference that’s relevant and it’s a difference that they’re willing to pay for and they are willing to acquire.

    When we think about brands and the purpose of brands, often communicated through things like slogans, it’s good practice to actually think about what these slogans or these brand positionings, their brand DNA, their brand essence, whichever term you might give it. What does it actually mean?

    It’s important for a variety of reasons. One reason is, that if your own people don’t understand what the brand stands for. It will not affect their behavior, they won’t know how to react.

    But the question then is, how will their brand shine through? Will the customers actually know what you stand for? And I thought I’d give you a couple of examples of slogans, which are not exactly the same as the brand purpose, but they can get pretty close.

    One of them is from United Parcel Service (UPS). Until 2010 the brand slogan was, ‘what brown can do for you.’ Now that’s a very internally focused slogan and part of their visual identity. That’s basically taking the brown of UPS and making it as part of their brand promise. It’s taking a colour, and that’s what the brand is about, the brand is a colour. And that’s not very powerful. This year they re-branded their slogan to, ‘united problem solvers.’ Now, that might seem a bit of an odd term, it sounds bit of like a labour union but what the brand is trying to signal is that the brand is about solving problems, not just logistical ones, but business problems overall. It’s taking their acronym UPS and given it secondary meaning.

    Very much like BP, which used to be known as ‘British Petroleum’ rebranded as ‘Beyond Petroleum’ when they focused on green energy. It’s a shift more towards the customer in terms of solutions for UPS and towards the value to the environment for BP.

    Let’s think about this in action for a brand which many of you will know, Pampers. These are diapers or nappies depending on which market you might be in. If we go back to 2001, they were by then the largest single brand for P&G. It was a $3.4 billion for P&G. The problem was, it was shrinking. And it was a drag on the earnings of P&G overall. And it was about to be, well, activists were asking for them to spin it off. Push forward 10 years to 2010 and it became a $10 billion-dollar brand. Entirely through organic growth. 

    It’s a story told by Jim Stengel in his book ‘Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies.’

    And it’s one of the chapters where he talks about the story. It’s a story which was also presented on several occasions by ‘Saatchi and Saatchi’ which was the advertising agency that accompanied Jim and his team on this journey.

    What did they do in order to gain more relevance for the brand? They did something very simple. They took a deep dive into the lives of their customers.

    They tried to figure out what motivate mothers? Not just to buy diapers, but in general. Especially first-time mothers because that’s when they make their decision about diapers. And they typically then stay brand-loyal. Is it just about price where Huggies had really enjoyed market leadership? As a matter of fact, Huggies had become the number one brand in the US, the home market for Pampers, which was very, very painful.

    It’s not just about that. If you think about being a mother or a parent, it’s about babies’ health. Babies’ development. That was the key consumer insight. And the question then was, how do I make these diapers relevant to baby development? The major commonality here was that most of these diapers, for them and their competition, it’s all about dryness.

    Now how does dryness help baby development? It turns out, and Pampers did these studies, it helps baby’s sleep. If baby sleeps, they got the little sleeping habit here, if baby sleeps, that’s when the baby develops it’s mind and muscles. And of course, the parents get a bit of extra rest as well. So, P&G turned that into the foundation of their Pampers brand. They went away from dryness to better sleep. And that was a fundamental change. It was a change that did not just affect the slogan, if you will. Before the change Pampers was a very male dominated engineering culture. People in white frocks focusing on dryness and dryness metrics, focusing on product attributes. There were very few women comparatively speaking to other P&G brands working for Pampers, which is a bit surprising.

    As part of this change, Jim Stengel and his team changed fundamentally everything about Pampers. The new headquarters became more baby and mother friendly, the colours were pink and apricot and the parking spaces close to the building were reserved for expecting mothers. The key metrics by which to evaluate the quality of the products went from dryness to better sleep. The values of the brand were aligned with the values of a parent.

    Literally everything changed, including something that was almost holy to a P&G, which were the two-year rotations that the staff went through going from one brand to the other.

    What P&G realized is even though it was a packaged product, they had to build the brand from the inside out. They hired people who had a passion for babies. Even if you’re in finance or if you’re the accountant, if you didn’t have a passion for babies, there are lots of other brands you might qualify for. But not so much Pampers. They also aligned the corporate social responsibility. Working with UNICEF about baby development, keeping babies healthy. That became the fundamental, and core purpose of the brand that also allowed them to move away from just dryness and diapers.

    They moved into baby development into wipes, into products where baby had its first soap. Where they could wipe themselves for the first time. Literally, anything that had to do with baby development was now a fair territory for Pampers to compete in. That also built a very different relationship with mothers. Mothers don’t want to talk about dryness with a brand. That’s just a product attribute. Pampers village, which is a new website they developed, they can now have a conversation with mothers. Another core insight was that mothers thought of developmental stages. P&G engaged with mothers before baby was born, when baby was born, when it was a toddler, and so on. They built a true relationship over time with the mothers. Which also fuelled the development of different stages of diapers. Training diapers and so forth.

    P&G have changed everything about Pampers, and it was driven by core consumer insight, which became the purpose of the brand that motivated the brand from the inside out, and even a packaged good category, it made it a huge success, so huge that it actually added to Huggies pulling out of European markets. With their lower cost diaper because Pampers had taken over that space.

  • Brand Experience, That’s Really What Matters the Most!

    Today the brand landscape is not what it used to be some years back. Today the brand landscape is more complex, intense and highly competitive. Today the brand landscape can be economical theorised as “Perfect Competition” in which market rivalry is so ferocious that the players in the industry are forced in terms of their pricing down to their cost base. They don’t make a profit anymore. All the value that’s created goes to the consumer.   

    Now, what are the conditions under which you have perfectly competitive markets? One is you have a large number of sellers with low barriers to entry. The other is you have perfect information and the third is you have homogenous or commodity-like products. Well, have a look at Google and think of a product like the iPhone. Lots of retailers are selling the same product. Just consider the retailer profits, they’re basically under huge pressure because everybody’s selling the same products. What about the concept of perfect information, especially in a global environment? Today, you look at the internet. You look at Google. You look at Metasearch engines like Kayak, which is a search engine on top of search engines. In the UK, we have moneysupermarket.com. Consumers can even go to a store and use their mobile phone, and scan in the barcode, and find a better price elsewhere. And there are even some websites, like ratemyprofessor.com where you can get information on the people that teach you. So, there’s a lot more information consumers have. Not only do they have more information today than they had yesterday, but they often have more information than your very own salespeople at least about the products they are interested in. For example, if one goes and buy, let’s say, a television. One might have done his or her search online beforehand. The consumer has selected two, three different models and he researched them in depth. And when the buyer goes to the store, the buyer wants the sales person to help me make my decision. Now of course, they have dozens of TVs to deal with. They have lot of other electronics in their mind. It’s quite difficult to know more than buyer know, so that whole relationship in terms of information has shifted. The customer often knows more than the company.

    Most of them are very, very much alike between competitors. And even think about the iconic Apple brand in terms of the pad, in terms of the iPad. The lawyer when they were suing Samsung went to the judge and showed the tablet from Samsung versus the pad from Apple and said, look, they are so similar. They’ve copied everything we do. Competitive benchmarking and competition have commoditized industries, and one doesn’t have to tell those of you in business to business products how difficult it is to differentiate your products from each other. Not only that, but potential customers are driving this commoditization. In business to business, we’ve got strategic functions now, which are procurement and they are making products seem very similar. Why? Because they want to ask you to compete on price. They’re telling you as competitors, hey, you’re the same as all these other prequalified suppliers. Give me their best price.

    The question is what role does a brand play in this environment? Does it matter if the same product comes from one brand versus the other? If the oil comes from Shell or it comes from Total Parco, does it matter. In reality, it does matter.

    The brand is not a product or even a service, it’s an experience that happens over a prolonged time. There are many, many touch points and these touch points cut across all consumers’ different business silos. It can be the parking lot attended. It can be the ticketing person. It can be an operator of a little choo, choo train where you can listen to. It’s a small world and you’re in your own little magic bubble while you’re there. And you can think of even vendors who are constantly fixing and upgrading the shopping window, they have to disappear into the background. It’s very, very difficult to create a magical experience. It’s not the same as commodity products. This is the behaviour of dozens, if not hundreds of people that occur across this experience that you have.

    What matters is about the brand promise and delivering the promise accordingly which traditionally, marketing communications was about creating that promise. It’s creating those expectations and about the delivery of that promise. The brand is not just the icing on the cake, it’s the cake itself. It’s not an outcome, as in the brand image. It’s part of the process itself. It’s its inside the organisation. It fuels innovation. It drives your people’s behaviour who then deliver the costumer experience. Now, this is a real step change from the way we think about branding before. Before, it was very controlled. It was the visual identity. I could have advertisements, place them media, again, which were very controlled. Now it’s about internal to the organisation, engaging with different business functions that marketing traditionally has not engaged with. Operations, human resources, IT.

    And it’s about those functions, delivering the brand at many various touch points across the customer experience, that’s really what matters the most!

  • A Wonderful Advantage of Innovations in Market Research

    Pakistan companies are yet to utilise the marvel of marketing technology to explore the depth of behavioural sciences to hook consumers. In fact, ask any experienced marketer in the country regarding behavioural economics to sensory insight, programmatic or neuro-research is like asking a four-year-old kid about rocket science.

    Whereas the world achieving wonders to unlock the mystery of behavioural sciences to reach out consumers through neuro-research and behavioural economics to sensory insight and even programmatic, our marketer is still exploring the limit of consumer greed.

    Failure to understand or explore consumers’ cognitive theories that how the certain brand world affecting consumer behaviour and consumer perception regarding the certain brand world, the brands in Pakistan still religiously believe in forced marketing penetration theory of the long past and contributing nothing in the behavioural economics of Pakistani consumers.

    Marketing messages whether ATL or BTL of the local brands are still failed to interpret the core reasoning of the consumers’ actions as what they buy and when they buy under the effect of message decoding, causing uncertainty of rational decisions for them to modify their messages’ frequency.

    Similarly, by virtue of dead progress in the national behavioural economics technology, marketing companies have failed to prioritise marketing opportunities, incentives or offers are needed and what pain points that annoy consumers should be removed.

    To understand consumers and to reap better results modern marketing technology is indisputably enriching companies biggest assets, their brands. Researching consumers through latest technology with the core art of marketing is the best combination for any brand to edge over its competitors.

    In this cut-throat competition no one wants to indulge in wrong decisions so it is very obvious to set brands in the right direction by getting rid of assumption based data, generated by human suppositions.

    Contrary, while researching consumers the personal touch is not lost utterly. Whereas technology has improved successful understanding of the market and its ever-changing dynamics, the personal touch with evidence-based knowledge is the ultimate gain for the companies. The combination is lethal but required utmost precaution because after all, behavioural sciences are inexact scholarship.

    But again, technology is slowly overcoming inaccuracy of this unknown dimension of human nature. As reported part of marketing publications, the following are some example of technological approaches to understand consumer behaviour to make a better marketing decision that have a progressive effect on brands.

    Andy Smith, director of consumer insights at The Hershey Company, which owns brands including Hershey, Kisses and Reese’s, says neuro-research provides knowledge on why and when people eat confectionery. He works closely with emotional intelligence company RealEyes.

    “People are emotional creatures and by using neuro-research we can show that someone is feeling an emotion rather than just asking them about how they feel when they bite into one of our products,” says Smith, who is also a board member at the global Neuromarketing Science & Business Association.

    “We have discovered that consumers will eat chocolate as a small indulgence, so we have to be careful in our advertising about playing on people’s guilt.”

    In the field of Sensory Research, Shuttlestock, a picture library brand, had ventured that choosing the right images for online ads can double viewing time, particularly on the desktop.

    The brand carried out eye-tracking research, which reveals that images work best if they mirror the target audience’s demographic profile.

    For example, consumers who are parents will view ads featuring children longer. Also, using faces can grab people’s attention but ‘busy’ images can turn them off.

  • Back to the Future Branding

    From generation to generation consumers are in habit to recall brands of their time. Their emotional attachments to these brands are undiminishing. Name any of past famous brands to the older generation, their mood would change and one could visibly observe their immediate departure to their past. This emotional transformation is the most amazing aspect of any company’s brand world and not cashing such emotional appeal is the biggest mistake.

    If think strategically, companies that once enjoyed ownership of such brain-alive brands have fairly well chance to attain back brands’ equity in this cutthroat brand competition era, where a tiny recall factor can be a great benefit.

    Brands are spending hugely to build brand recall by positioning in the consumers’ mind. It is like building a nest, straw by straw with utmost care and alertness. The nest can be destroyed but the location is still not erased from the bird’s memory. In fact, seasonal migrated birds love to land on the same spot year after year. Dalda in Pakistan is one example of such. The brand’s famous line “Jahan Mamta Wuhan Dalda” is still the great emotional association for many in the country and core cause of the brand re-emergence to its brand prominence. Unilever with its all brand management might let the brand go in 2004, thinking that the brand is financially dead for sure because of intense competition from local and foreign ghee and cooking oil companies.

    In Pakistan, the demise of brands is mostly because of poor brand management from the parent companies. The companies’ incapability to understand changing marketing realities is the main reasons for their brands’ disappearance, demise and decline to extinct. There are also many other reasons for brands’ decline including:

    1. The parent company stopped investing in the brand’s expansion including product development, innovation and research. Furthermore, the parent companies’ mistake to think that the brands were infallible and “Lady Luck” would keep smiling on them. Paktel is one example in this regard.
    2. The parent companies started investing in other ventures by taking out money from core businesses and ignore their existing best assets’ development.
    3. Lack of consumer behaviour understanding has been a major cause of Pakistani brands’ falters. At the corporate level, the decision makers usually were not well aware of ever-changing marketing dynamics and reluctant to accept changes.
    4. Lack of promotion or stop spending advertising money was yet another reason for the local brands’ demises. It is like what Henry Ford said “stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”

    All the famous brands of past that vanished left behind strong impartialities and traces on that generations’ memories. Often, these memories are strengthened by famous taglines such as “Jahan Mamta Wuhan Dalda” or “Ah Khuda Meray Abbo Salamat Rahayn” or “Phaly Bata Phir School” or “Sub say Acha aur Sab say Alla Chanda Battery Cell.” The loyalty and trust engendered by those brands are still fresh in the minds their living regulars.

    In fact, companies with a fresh or altered approach can often capitalize on existing equities, overcoming past challenges with greater flexibility, or a fresh strategy, a new consumer target, different product or retail distribution, a brand repositioning, or a modernized version.

  • A brand name is everything!

    Selecting a brand name for a new product is certainly an art and a science. An art and a science have the prerequisite of memorability, meaningfulness, likability, transferability, adaptability, and protectability in the minds of consumers to recall brand names.
    A good brand name is a focal point for all other brand activity to build brand equity and retaining brand equity in the face of constraints and opportunities. For all companies brand name should be a primarily vital initiative because it is the thing to capture and flourish brand’s world imagination and help to create brand infinity.
    A brand name is the shorthand means of brand communication to consumers, which has a tenacity to permanent imprint into the consumers’ memory lane. A brand name is to stay in the mind of consumers and it can be consumers’ best-remembered brand element as other like URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages, and signage tend to change with cultural change, but the brand name is eternal.
    A brand name is also the most dominant of all another brand element. Among brand strategist, it is widely accepted fact coining brand name required utmost consideration to make it easy but fun to pronounce, remember, central to all brand positioning, creative excellence, transferability to other following brands and desired infiniteness, never get archaic and not easy to counterfeit. But it is the Herculean task to coin brand name with all these standards. The biggest obstacle is to readjust brand names to unknown cultures and territories with indigenous pronunciations and meanings.
    Choosing brand name is also becoming a very difficult brand element as Ira Bachrach, a well-known branding consultant, has noted that although there are 140, 000 words in the English vocabulary, the average English speaking adult recognizes only 20, 000; Bachrach’s consulting company, NameLab, sticks to the 7, 000 words that make up the vocabulary of most TV programs and commercials.
    Although a difficult task but not impossible. In fact, the most creative task in the brand building if one can follow and ‘mix and match’ already existed procedures.
    First of all, understand the point of parity to create the point of difference, keeping in mind the concept of memorability, meaningfulness, likability, transferability, adaptability, and protectability. The name should be creatively simple and easily pronounceable, ease to spell and meaningful familiarity. It can be surname like Mitchell’s, descriptive like Pakistan International Airlines, invented Kodak, connotative, bridge or can be arbitrary like Apple or Yahoo.

  • Brands are the most treasured possessions for companies

    In this branding-brand-world the most treasured possession of any company of the world is the names associated with their brands. Creating awareness about their brands’ features and justifying their brand promises are the most critical tasks for any company. But the task is complex in nature as the competitions among the brands are that and the companies need competent brand teams to simplify decision-making, reduce risk, and set unique expectations to complete the task. For any brand team, brand management imperative is the ultimate energy-source to build strong brands that can create desired brand awareness by fulfilling brand promise over time.
    But unfortunately in Pakistan a vast majority of organisations are not well aware of a deeper understanding of how to achieve those branding goals, even the basic objectives to search the core issues in evaluating, implementing and planning their brand strategies. Moreover, almost all companies are black about their brands’ core concepts or ever tried to fix their shortcoming by applying branding research, using brand tools, theories and other tested models for their own benefits.
    Brand companies in Pakistan need to place specific importance on understanding psychological principles at the individual or organisational level in order to make better decisions about their brands. This principle is not only relevant to big and strong companies or brands, but the objective is to be relevant for any type of organisation regardless of its size, nature of business, or profit orientation.
    Pakistani companies to gain success in brand world must consider the functions of a brand from the perspective of both consumers and firms and should explore brands importance to both.

  • Not having a marketing department is a big, big, big mistake!

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    A marketing department is not a waste of money! In fact, it is the best way to make a lot money and good marketing department can take a company to a new level. Companies without marketing departments are like “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” Marketing is power; it is the booster and a magical tonic. If not then Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Google, BMW are not what they are now – the most recognisable logos in the world.
    It is not the only brands’ recognitions, but it is evaluation through the years from a humble sales department to the most modern money making process. It is not the “single kill” department, but it is functions and processes of cross-disciplinary teamwork to achieve better financial benefits and for brands’ equity.
    Not having marketing departments mean disorganisations, denial of functional specialisation, zero focus on geography and regionalization, product and brand management, and market-segment management. Moreover, companies will not establish a matrix organisation consisting of both product and market managements.
    Marketing is the strongest link to create progression and cooperation R&D, engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, operations, finance, accounting, and credit. It is also a bridge between customers and companies.
    Marketing is the great involvement in all elements of any company’s operations to work closely with its suppliers, channel partners, with the understanding that each element or function provides an opportunity to market the product to the ultimate consumer.
    Buy and selling is a tip of marketing iceberg. Marketing is deep. Money making is one benefit, but taking brands and companies offering to the new level is the real gain to have the good marketing department.
    Without marketing, there is no increase in customer baseline and companies without marketing departments in Pakistan are “living in a fool’s paradise.” Marketing, in general term, is to create and exchange value with customers. Peter F. Drucker in his famous book “In the Practice of Management” while defining the concept “there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer… [Therefore], any business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation… Marketing is the distinguishing, the unique function of the business.”
    Without marketing companies are directionless because marketing has a major role to play in setting a company’s strategic direction. Companies without marketing departments are lacking management responsibilities. Marketing is the source of providing the foundation of organisation development and strategies to deal with wide variety of situations. Therefore, achieving marketing excellence in the future will require a new set of skills and competencies.
    Marketing is not just yet another function; it is also be concerned for the welfare of society as a whole. In this world, the biggest tangible and intangible source of welfare work is being financed by companies through their marketing based incomes. Strategically emotional currency is more precious in today’s corporate world and through company-consumers engagement as more and more companies are turning to corporate social responsibility in order to bolster their reputation, as well as their profits.
    Companies can make names among corporate compatriots by practising social responsibility through their legal, ethical, productively link social responsibility to consumer marketing programs. Social marketing is done by a non-profit or government organisation to directly address a social problem or cause.
    The marketing department is the solution to recognise and to diagnose marketing problem, assessing where the problem exists, and evaluating results through. Having no marketing department can lead to chaos in monitoring and control of marketing activities. Marketing plan control ensures the company achieves the sales, profits, and other goals in its annual plan. The main tools are sales analysis, market share analysis, marketing expense-to-sales analysis, and financial analysis of the marketing plan. Profitability control measures and controls the profitability of products, territories, customer groups, trade channels, and order sizes. Efficiency control finds ways to increase the efficiency of the sales force, advertising, sales promotion, and distribution. Strategic control periodically reassesses the company’s strategic approach to the marketplace using marketing effectiveness and marketing excellence reviews as well as marketing audits.
    So, not having marketing department is a big, big, big mistake!

  • Time to exploit digital riches by letting go traditional views of marketing

    Image source: Pixabay

    Image source: Pixabay

    This is time to change, time to progress and time to exploit digital riches by letting go traditional views of marketing and adopt the new digital realities to benefit from this buzz technology. This is not only time to change, bring change and enjoy the change. The new marketing digital realities are fun, favour and financial forward. This is the magic of the moment and the future’s in the air.
    But listening to the wind of change is not so promising in Pakistan. The local companies are not in the mood of listening or accepting the rationale that it is important to focus on how and why the traditional view of marketing has changed and to introduce the various ways of measuring performance in the market for their own profit.
    An irony is that companies with the vast operational experiences in Pakistan markets have great difficulty accepting the encompassing role that marketing has on the other functional disciplines within their companies. Their reluctancy has exposed them as a gifted “Seths,” (proprietors) who have never been exposed to proper marketing and its components, they are there because it was “Allah’s will” and a gift of “Sethism” has been bestowed upon them. They have nothing to do with the world of marketing, nothing can excite them nor can they educate themselves about the “world of marketing.” To them “Buss, naam hee kaafi hai!”
    In this new marketing world, the new normal is willing to spend for greater digital social coverage to gain more and more customers’ traffic. There is a fundamental disconnect between willingness versus spending to cover higher grounds during the ongoing instance digital era. It is a Herculean task for the marketing strategists to convenience “Seths” that their companies’ digital presence has potential to spectacularly increase their ROI.
    Tacking new marketing digital realities is nowadays new imperative for every leader, manager of the field. It is worthwhile playing field, which is also transforming marketing landscape and not adjusting and exploiting the potential is not at all good strategy to compete in a crowded market.
    This is important to understand that adopting and practising new digital realities is not about the current quick gain, but it is planning for the future. Companies must look up and must keep looking up, make future from the present strategy and make their past to make their future perfect.
    Pakistan is now rapidly improving its digital image and this is the best time for local companies to synergise their potential for better uplift. The recent and ongoing proliferation of mobile devices with faster 4G connectivity and tariff cuts can be greater fuel for larger benefits as the use trend of social media is gearing up to the new levels.
    Consumer behaviour and their purchasing decision have been transforming to new dimensions in the country. Consumers are now taking their purchasing decision after surfing on social media for the better reviews and judgments of connected consumers’ experiences. They are getting more conscious to choose brands and always on the look regarding consumer promotions. They keep themselves updated with the product, price, placement and promotions. They want that their purchase would be well researched, informed and exact. They are well alert to word of mouth and conscious admiration for “word of mouse,” too. Their acceptance and rejects are very blunt.
    It’s time to realise that “the wind of change blows straight into the face of time” and acceptance and adaptation are the best bet for the companies and their “Seths”!